Cascade and Transition

The cascade that the NLC predicts is a coevolutionary process whereby the internal rule models of states in the critical mass have changed and, through their actions, they have altered the social context in which all agents are embedded. Actors will now face a reality of universal participation. If the framework is correct, the changed social context will force rule model evolution through evaluation in the other agents, as they will no longer be able to reach their goals (they may even change their goals) using rule models that no longer fit with their social context. Through domestic political processes, states will change their understanding of their social context. If actors do not understand the universal participation requirement, they will not be able to effectively participate in the governance process for ozone depletion.

If a critical mass of agents accept and act in accordance with a rule calling for universal participation, agents that follow a rule calling for less than universal participation will find themselves unable to reach their goals in the ozone depletion and climate change negotiations by acting through ill-fitting rule models. The altered social context (notions of appropriate levels of participation) induces other agents to alter their rule models through negative evaluation. Even though participation is socially constructed, it has real consequences. The understanding of participation that agents have in their rule model and that exists in the social context shapes how agents address the ozone depletion and climate change problems. If an agent is out of step with the intersubjectively understood participation requirement, she is unlikely to behave correctly, and this will lead to negative evaluations of her rule model. Through adaptation, states not in the critical mass will quickly alter their rule models and accept the norm of universal participation.

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